Harder, Stronger, Pasta

ITALY’S FINEST EX­PORT IS UN­DER AT­TACK FROM NEU­ROTIC, GLUTEN-FREE SPIRALISTERS. BUT MAK­ING SMART TWISTS TO THE COM­FORT FOOD OF CHAM­PI­ONS CAN GIVE YOU A PO­TENT DI­ETARY WEAPON.

Men's Health (Singapore) - - NEWS -

AAs long ago as 2011, a global sur­vey (car­ried out by Ox­fam TK) crowned the Ital­ian sta­ple as the world’s most pop­u­lar food, sat­is­fy­ing hun­gry din­ers ev­ery­where from Bri­tain to Gu­atemala. Heck, it even beat steak and pizza.

But since then, pasta has found it­self in hot wa­ter. Sales have dropped by 13 per­cent in western Europe and 6 per­cent in the US. Even in Italy it­self, “pasta-ged­don” has seen busi­ness plum­met by a whop­ping 25 per­cent.

The gluten-free revo­lu­tion has lit the fusilli on pasta’s ex­plo­sive de­cline in sales in Bri­tain. Mean­while, spaghetti has been stran­gled by the spi­raliser move­ment, as peo­ple swop car­bo­hy­drate for rib­bons of nu­tri­ent-rich, flavour-poor vegeta­bles. (Marks & Spencer alone saw cour­gette sales spike by 20 per­cent last year.) With high-pro­tein and low-carb di­ets ban­ish­ing pasta to the naughty step, rice and quinoa have mus­cled in. But bad science has some­how got mixed up in the sauce. Last year, an in­ter­na­tional Sci­en­tific Con­sen­sus State­ment con­firmed that pasta is in­deed a healthy car­bo­hy­drate and a key part of the Mediter­ranean diet –

still pretty much the best thing go­ing in terms of eat­ing your way to a longer life­span.

Clin­i­cal tri­als have also con­firmed it is ex­cess calo­ries – not carbs alone – that cause obe­sity. In fact, with a sur­pris­ingly low gly­caemic in­dex (42 for brown, 46 for white), pasta causes less blood sugar spikes than brown rice (50), quinoa (53) and cous­cous (65). Chew on that.

“There’s noth­ing in­trin­si­cally bad about pasta,” con­firms per­for­mance nu­tri­tion­ist Joseph Agu. “For a start, gluten in­tol­er­ance af­fects just 1 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion, so the other 99 per­cent can ig­nore it.

Also, low-carb di­ets tend to im­pair your abil­ity to ex­er­cise at high ca­pac­ity, which is es­sen­tial for weight man­age­ment and fit­ness.

“More­over, carbs are es­sen­tial for help­ing tryp­to­phan cross the blood-brain bar­rier to pro­duce sero­tonin – mean­ing go­ing with­out it can se­ri­ously up­set your mood. But you knew that al­ready.”

So has pasta been un­fairly ma­ligned? We think so. If you’re canny with your pack of Carecci, qual­ity pasta al­lied with smart in­gre­di­ents can still de­liver win­ning re­sults to help bal­ance blood sugar, mo­bil­ity and mind.

Grab a deep pan, a long fork and dig in.

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